Best Streaming Devices of 2018-2019 Reviews
Best Streaming Devices of 2018-2019-A streaming media player is a device that can help your TV or home theater connect to the internet and free or paid online service so that you can easily watching videos or listening to the music. Basically, a streaming player is a basic device and it only need a number of connections like video (HDMI and/or composite), audio (RCA and/or digital), and Ethernet networking jacks.
TVs are getting smarter by the day, leaving owners of older models behind in terms of available features and services. Today’s streaming media players from the likes of Apple, Amazon, Google, and Roku will make your older TV smarter the moment you plug them in.Streaming media refers to the many different ways that you can use the Internet to enjoy movies, TV shows, music, video games, and more. With so many streaming options available, choosing the ideal streaming media player might take a little bit of research.
The fact that you could connect that device to any HDMI input that’s available and then stream your favourite content wirelessly to a TV or a monitor was an ingenious idea. However, that was just the start; streaming devices in the modern day and age have come a lot far, they’ve become a lot more popular than they used to be, and in a world where people are moving towards streaming rather than having downloads in their devices, they’re making waves.
At the point of writing, there are countless streaming devices available in the market, each offering something different than the other, while maintaining the basic concept very well. While people who have been streaming content for years are already familiar with these devices, the concept for new comers is something that is rather confusing and alarming.
That’s why they get confused when they are in the market looking for a streaming device, there are so many options available that an average consumer usually gets baffled. Keeping that in mind, in order to help the consumers, make the right decision, we’re going to be looking at some of the best streaming devices that are available in the market at the moment.
So, let’s not waste more time, and start looking at all the devices that are available in the market, shall we?
Keep in mind that some of the devices that we will be reviewing are going to be by the same manufacturers, but will have some differences between one and other, and there’s nothing wrong with that at all. Now that we have it out of the way, we can go ahead and have a look; shall we go ahead.
This guide will help you find the streaming device and content services that best fit your lifestyle. So check out our Best Streaming Devices of 2018-2019 list
Best Streaming Devices of 2018-2019
Roku streaming media player models feature invariably in sites focusing on streaming device reviews and for good reasons. This streaming media gadget offers you access to over 4500+ TV channels featuring more than 4,50,000 TV shows and movies. The Roku Feed app offers you updates on every episode or event you wish to stream and also notifies you of a price plummet.
You can set up this gadget with a full HDTV or 4K ultra HDTV and you bet it’ll deliver picture quality that you expect from a high definition TV. It comes with an advanced remote that lets you plug the accompanying headset into it for enjoying audio without disturbing others. Voice search feature lets you track the remote if you’ve misplaced it accidently.
- 4K ultra high definition streaming technology: crystal clear images
- Streams over 4,500 TV channels
- Compatible with HDTVs and ultra HDTVs
- Voice search streaming by name of actor, film title or director
- Upgrading from 720p and 1080p to 4K ultra HD
- Easy installation: direct plugging into the HDMI port or the receiver
- Roku 4 is extremely lightweight and compact enabling it to be placed comfortably and occupies minimal space
- Remote control has numerous features including voice search and port for headphone jack
- Across the board connectivity: has Ethernet, micro SD card slot and USB port
- It is a streaming media player Android suitable for connecting with all Android and Windows-based gadgets
- Stream endless media from digital gadgets to HDTV including music, movies, and photo files
- Roku 4 gets extraordinarily after it has been in use for some hours and the fan doesn’t keep it cool enough
- The device also gets terribly noisy after a few minutes of operation
The Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote Streaming Media Player is one streaming stick that outdoes many set-top box models in terms of performance. It is one of the best live TV streaming devices that you’d just need to plug into the HDMI receptacle of your HDTV to enjoy more than movies, music, video games, and much more. The remote reinforced with the Alexa Voice functionality lets you monitor whatever you prefer to watch simply by talking into the RC.
You’d just need to subscribe to DIRECTV NOW or CBS All Access via the Fire TV stick in case you don’t have a satellite or cable connection. The full function not only lets you pick and choose from more than 30,000 movies and TV shows but also lets you enjoy your favorite music and shop online.
- Quick and convenient access to thousands of networks and multiple service providers offering video, audio, movie, and TV channel streaming services
- Streaming access even with a cable or satellite TV
- Very lightweight and compact: weighs 32g and measures 3.4” x 1.2” x 0.5”
- Alexa voice control remote
- Broad-spectrum compatibility
- Fast and convenient setup: simply plug in the stick in the TV’s HDMI port, connect with a wall outlet, link with net, and you’re ready to go
- Compliable with any high definition TV, you can take the Fire Stick you wish to for enjoying movies or music outside your home
- Convenience to watch your favorite TV show, football game or tuning in to your choice numbers even if you don’t have a cable TV subscription
- Speak simple words into the remote for activating it to search what you’re looking for
- To make the most of Fire Stick, you’ll first have to be an Amazon Prime member
- There are other comparable streaming sticks that allows access to more content and greater customization in the home screen
The Amazon Fire TV Streaming Media Player is a step-up from its sibling-the Amazon Fire Stick. It is one of the best streaming devices for TV offering you instant access to online entertainment via your HDTV. This streaming media player lets you take pleasure in viewing movies in 4K ultra HD format which implies that the images are vivid, bright, and lifelike.
The interactive remote obeys your voice commands to stream more than 3,00,000 TV episodes and films. You can order for a hamburger or pizza while you’re lapping up your favorite motion picture just by just by pressing a knob on the remote. Simply put, the streaming possibilities are endless with the Amazon Fire TV streaming media player.
- Voice control remote
- 2GB memory and 8GB internal storage
- Supports 720p, 1080p, and 4K ultra HD resolutions
- Gaming support
- Wi-Fi connectivity
- Micro-SD card slot, USB2.0 port, HDMI output, Ethernet, and DC jack
- Weighs 9.5oz
- Dimensions: 4.5” x 4.5” x 0.7”
- Compatible with any 4K ultra HD TV, it streams high quality music as well as movies and videos of the highest clarity
- Capable of streaming high resolution images even when connected to TV not having 4K technology
- Can stream audio and video simply by listening to voice commands
- Subscribing to DIRECTV NOW or CBS All Access lets you stream in real time even if you don’t have satellite or cable TV connection
- This Amazon Streaming Media set-top box is not as portable as the streaming stick and also occupies more space
- Alexa voice commands do not work for specific apps like ‘Netflix’
- Users will have to buy an HDMI adapter cable separately
- The remote is not very suitable for video games
The Roku 1 Streaming Media Player serves as your passport to unlimited entertainment letting you watch your choice movies, soundtracks, TV shows, and sports channels and immerse yourself in action-packed video games. This android media player box not only has a small print occupying only 1.2 x 3.7 x 3.7 inches but also is eminently portable weighing just 3.5 ounces.
Roku 1 which is one of the best streaming devices for TV is compatible for connecting with both HD and SD (standard definition) TV sets. The connectivity ports include DC-in (for powering up), video-in, L/R audio-ins, and HDMI-in. You can surf more than 1,000 sports, movies, music, cooking and fitness channels and the streamed images will be of HD
- Helps stream 2000+ channels
- Can be set up with any SD or HDTV
- 1080p image resolution
- Quick and convenient wireless installation
- Instant streaming of favorite channels from multifunctional remote
- Android and iOS apps supplied free of cost
- Watch preferred movie or TV episode simply by pressing a knob
- Can be installed and carried conveniently as Roku 1 is very compact and lightweight
- Compatible for setting up with any HDTV or standard definition TV via the HDMI port
- Effective for streaming unlimited movie, music, sports, cooking, lifestyle, news, and fitness channels
- Go back to watch your favorite movie or sports channel with a single press of a knob
- Stream music, video, and other media files from your digital devices like smartphone, tab or laptop to your TV set
- Since this is a revamped unit, don’t expect it to work as swiftly and smoothly in comparison to its bigger siblings
- Will take inordinately to load some TV channels
- HDMI connector cable not provided with the unit
Transform your TV a one-stop entertainment center with the help of NETGEAR NeoTV Streaming Player. The NETGEAR NTV300 is one of the best streaming devices 2018 that converts your TV into a virtual device for accessing almost innumerable audio and video channels offered by streaming media service providers. Compatible for connecting with Wi-Fi, the gadget is effective in streaming 1080p HD images and 5.1 Dolby Digital Plus audio.
The remote control provided with NETGEAR NeoTV streaming player is incredibly versatile as it lets you stream gazillion TV episodes and motion pictures offered by Netflix, Hulu Plus, VUDU, and much more. You can even use your smartphone as a remote for monitoring the NeoTV.
- Built in Wi-Fi, Ethernet port, and HDMI out port
- Capable of streaming thousands of movie, sports, news, and fitness channels
- Images streamed have 1080p HD quality
- Surround sound/5.1 Dolby Digital Plus audio quality
- Can be set up with any iOS and Android enabled device
- Comes with a full set of components for smooth and fast setup
- Capable of streaming innumerable HD channels quickly and conveniently
- Offers apps free of cost for linking up with any iOS and Android device
- Ethernet port for wired connectivity
- Equipped with high-speed Wi-Fi connectivity option
- Convenience of converting your smartphone into a remote for streaming thousands of HD channels to your TV
- Track your preferred entertainment channels swiftly and conveniently using the NeoTV remote
- The media streamer slows down excessively and causes TV screen freeze up when streaming channels like Netflix or HuluPlus
- Search results don’t always match what is selected from listed program catalogue
- Many users will feel specific deficiencies of the remote like the lack of a QWERTY setup and the absence of a touchpad
Best Overall: Roku Ultra
Roku’s new flagship, the Ultra is a fantastic choice for streaming fans looking for the best-featured option. At 4.9 x 4.9 x .8 inches, the square-ish Ultra is capable of supporting both 4K and HDR picture quality with a powerful quad-core processor. The 4K Ultra HD streaming is handled at 60fps, or four times the resolution of 1080p HD, and, thanks to a new design, runs without fans. There’s an HDMI port, Ethernet port (plus 802.11 a/c), digital output, microSD slot for additional storage and a USB port. Unfortunately, there’s no HDMI cable included, which is a strange omission.
Thanks to a powerful processor, navigating Roku’s already friendly menu system is a cinch. Channel selection is front and center and shows apps that have been downloaded. The Ultra, like a number of other Roku devices, offers voice search, which works fairly well overall. Speak the name of the show, actor, director or app into the remote control or mobile app (Android and iOS) and voila, your results will pop up. The remote is standard Roku fashion with the colorful Purple direction pad and a slew of shortcuts to big name apps and other controlling functions.
There is a 4K spotlight app that highlights UHD content across a variety of services. Night mode is a welcome addition that tones down big explosions and highlights dialogue so you can let the rest of the house sleep while you watch late at night. The combination of the new processor, 4K and HDR streaming, plus one of the most expansive channel selections, means the Ultra won’t disappoint.
Runner-Up, Best Overall: Roku Stick
The Roku stick has a powerful quad-core processor and dual-band wireless that provides up to 8x more processing power than ever before. The usual suspects are here with Netflix, VUDU, Amazon, Google Play and more. In fact, it’s this selection that helped earn the Roku Stick our top spot.
Unlike Chromecast and Apple TV, Roku is platform agnostic and wants to give its customers all the options and it does so with gusto. We’d love to see 4K support, but that’s a sacrifice we can make thanks to the superb IR-ready remote control, excellent companion app for Android and iOS and hundreds of apps and services. In fact, the only big name missing here is iTunes and unsurprisingly, you won’t find iTunes anywhere other than an Apple-manufactured product. You might miss out on expandable storage but, again, aspects like best-in-class search allows us to overlook some of the Roku Stick drawbacks.
There are some additional downsides, like the fact that not every included streaming app is up to date with its most recent UX changes or that its HDMI-only which is bad news for older TV owners. Also, we’d love to see Roku do something about an average 2 minute and 52 second startup time. However, thanks to its selection of streaming content, a fast and incredibly responsive interface and cross-service search, the Roku Stick is an easy choice for best overall streaming TV device.
Best Streamer for Amazon Prime Members: Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote
Amazon’s newest generation of Fire TV Sticks is currently categorized as the No. 1 Best Selling Electronic on its site. It’s one of the only streaming devices on the market that’s under $40 and comes with a remote that features wireless voice control. If you’re an Amazon Prime Member, there’s no better streaming device that rewards you like the Fire TV Stick.
The Fire TV Stick includes the Alexa Voice Remote that can read a user’s verbal commands. For example, speaking into the remote and saying “Launch Netflix” will boot up Netflix streaming, saying “Alexa, pause” will pause the video or music you’re playing – you can even tell Alexa to order a pizza or find movie show times. The streaming device is even better if you’re an Amazon Prime Member; you can get unlimited access to Prime Video, which features thousands of movies and TV episodes with no additional costs. Members can even add on specialty channels such as HBO and Showtime – which was previously exclusive to only Apple TV.
The Fire TV Stick includes 75 percent more processing power than its predecessors, includes a dedicated graphics engine, better Wi-Fi support, 2GB of memory and 8 GB of storage that’s expandable up to 200 GB. It supports 4K Ultra HD and features all of your favorite streaming channels such as YouTube, Hulu and Amazon Video.
Best Budget: Roku Express
The title of Roku’s most affordable streaming device now belongs to the Express and it’s wearing it like a badge of honor. Stuffed with all the apps and services you’ll find on any other Roku device, it’s capable of 1080p video output, but hits its low price with slightly slower performance and a basic infrared remote control. Setup is a snap with the included 18-inch HDMI cable and Roku’s intuitive interface makes it easy to search across 350,000+ movies and TV episodes across 3,500+ paid or free channels, including big names like Netflix, Amazon Video, Hulu, PBS kids and more.
The Roku Express supports 802.11 b/g/n/ dual-band MIMO in a tiny package that’s just .7 x 3.4 x 1.4 inches and weighs 1.3 ounces. The included infrared (line-of-sight) remote is the standard Roku 5.3-inch black wand with a purple direction pad that’s complemented by a Home, Back, Replay and Option buttons.
If you compared the Roku Express side-by-side against its more expensive siblings, you’d notice a slight delay in overall performance: think menu loading, app loading etc. However, the slow(er) performance doesn’t in any way hinder video and TV performance that play just as well as more expensive options. Additionally, there’s no remote-based voice search a la the Amazon Fire TV Stick or web-mirroring like the Chromecast but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. If you’re looking to get online and stream thousands of your favorite shows as inexpensively as possible, the Roku Express will not disappoint.
Best for Smartphones: Chromecast Ultra
Google’s taking the “if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it” saying and throwing it right out the window by taking the already impressive Google Chromecast and making it even better. The Chromecast Ultra now offers streaming in 4K Ultra HD and HDR with additional speed boosts to handle the more intense quality. Like its predecessors, the Chromecast Ultra plugs right into your TV’s HDMI port and works with the iPhone, iPad, Android devices and laptops with thousands of Cast-enabled apps.
Google’s Chromecast supports more than 200,000 TV shows and movies, plus 30 million songs, radio, sports, games and more. While it’s arguable that options like the Roku are more feature-rich, Google’s Chromecast Ultra may be the easiest and best-designed streaming service around.
The inclusion of an Ethernet adapter will assist homes and Internet connections that might not already be optimized and ready to take advantage of 4K streaming. Chromecast users will find the ability to mirror websites right on the TV, as well as mirror their smartphone. Power is supported through a microUSB connection that can go right into any power outlet, while HDMI plugs right into the TV. More »
Runner-Up, Best for Smartphones: Google Chromecast
Google’s Chromecast is arguably one of the best-known streaming TV devices and for good reason: It’s one of the least expensive. Now, with plenty of competition, Google has maintained the “less is more” approach by relying heavily on outside devices to control its playback. Whether you love it or hate it, the Chromecast has no remote control, period. Its selection of supported content rivals Roku and grows almost daily.
Through Chrome on the desktop or through official (or unofficial) apps on Android and iOS, there’s truly plenty of reasoning to give the Chromecast a long, hard look. One benefit is its portability (it’s really small). That’s great for anyone traveling and wanting to hook up to a hotel TV and stream their own content. The Chromecast would be our-go option for travel as we just need the unit itself and our smartphone rather than worrying about including a separate remote. Its new design mirrors a small, plastic hockey puck. The single, short cable connects to a single HDMI connecter and goes right into your TV. Setting up the Chromecast is incredibly easy. Just plug it in, grab the Chromecast app for your smartphone and follow the few prompts and you’re off to the races.
One notable difference from the rest of this list is the lack of any on-screen interface. The Chromecast doesn’t have one and Google has hinted that one will never arrive. Utilizing your existing apps ala Netflix to jump right into “casting” is simple, easy and requires just the tap of a single button. While the lack of iTunes and Amazon’s content is recognized, we can find most of the first-run and historical content we want on Google Play. More »
Best Apple Streaming Device: Apple TV 4
Apple TV 4 is a smaller, more expensive unit but retains the polished interface that has made Apple’s products some of the best-selling devices. The 1.66-ounce unit features incredible voice search from Siri, an excellent selection of apps and AirPlay for unsupported apps. Apple TV supports many of the same services as the Roku but adds the ability to play back content from your iTunes library. Throw in mirroring from your iPhone, iPad or Macbook through AirPlay and you’ve got a whole lot of possibilities.
Still, not everything is perfect as anyone not tied into Apple’s ecosystem won’t see the full value of the Apple TV. Given the cost, there’s little question this streaming TV device is only good for those completely sold on Apple’s closed ecosystem. Of 6,000+ native apps on the Apple TV now, 1,300 are for streaming video. Siri voice search does well, but its app limitation is an annoyance given how well Roku has performed this function at a cheaper cost. One particular note is that most buyers should be more than satisfied with the less expensive 32GB model rather than the 64GB model. Unless you’re looking to use the Apple TV as a heavy gaming machine, the smaller memory learns how to free up space on its own to allow for the introduction of new apps.
The lack of first-run content from other sources like Google Play is a notable omission, but hardly a surprise in today’s Apple vs Android world. Considering that most first-run content is available on each platform (save for some exclusives), it’s not a deal breaker. More »
Best 4K Streamer: Roku 4
Unlike most of its competition that strive for 1080p quality, the Roku 4 truly takes quality to another level. The addition of 2,500+ streaming channels, 4x the resolution of 1080p HD and advanced up-scaling for 720p HD TVs all seal the Roku 4’s place as a winner in our book. Capable of working with any TV with an HDMI connection, 4K streaming is limited to TVs that are already 4K UHD ready which isn’t as popular as 1080p models but expect that to change dramatically in the next few years.
One notable drawback is that the Roku 4 only supports HDMI 2.0, not HDMI 2.0a, which might not seem like a big detail today, but it could be in the future when additional support for high-dynamic streaming content is added. The Roku 4 matches its Stick companion in responsiveness and ease-of-use and we love the addition of quick-access buttons for both Netflix and Sling. All the major players are available through Roku including Netflix, Twitch, YouTube, Amazon, and Hulu. Want to stream photos, music and videos stored on your smartphone directly to the Roku 4? You’re just one app download away from yet another wonderful benefit of owning a Roku.
Best Streamer for Gamers: NVIDIA Shield
If it’s gaming you really want, the NVIDIA Shield is your Android TV streamer of choice. Rather than the more expansive and feature-rich options like the Xbox One or Playstation 4, the Shield is a happy medium between a gaming device and full TV streamer. While it’s pricey, it does come with 16GB of internal storage and performance that’s 3x faster than the Apple TV, 10x faster than the Roku 4 and 4x faster than the Fire TV. There’s no shortage of entertainment prospects here including Netflix, HULU, YouTube, ESPN, Showtime, Disney, Kodi, HBO, etc. Pick up the additional remote and say things like “Oscar-winning movies” or “Launch Netflix” and Google’s advanced voice commands will find exactly what you’re looking for. Although one notably absent service is Amazon’s Prime Video.
All the streaming TV options are just icing on the cake as the real prize is the gaming. Capable of streaming new and classic PC games from the cloud via GeForce NOW alongside a host of Android and SHIELD-exclusive gaming options, there’s everything from family favorites, indie hits to the biggest names in mobile gaming. Realistically, it’ll run gaming circles around the Apple TV or Amazon’s Fire TV but it’s still not a dedicated replacement for a game console. Included is a game controller which also functions as the main way to search.
Setup is relatively easy with Android TV and the Shield is no exception. Choose a language, WiFi password, account log-in and you’re off. The Shield handles all OS and app updates behind the scenes leaving you to enjoy the fruits of technology.